NANTICOKE -- Students and staff at Luzerne County Community College in Nanticoke each bought a ticket for lunch between $3 and $5 for its fourth annual Hunger Banquet, but what they did not know is what would be on the menu. To emphasize the reality of global hunger, they received tickets labeled either high, middle, or low income.
“Had mashed potatoes and I think it was either chicken or turkey and corn, and that was really good!” said Michelle Ortiz, a student. She was lucky enough to get a high-income ticket. She admits it was a good feeling. Most days, she uses the college's food pantry.
“Whenever it's opened, I'll come in because I don't usually have money for the cafeteria upstairs,” she said.
Those who received middle-income tickets got only a sandwich.
“It was a tasty sandwich, but not really fulfilling,” said one student.
“I understand there's a lot of people who don't have food, so I don't take it for granted,” said another student.
Most of the participants received tickets labeled low-income. They only get to eat soup and have to eat it while sitting on the floor.
“Honestly, it's challenging because most people, they live the high life, they don't understand what it's like to live on the floor,” said a student.
But officials say the important thing is that all the money raised from the hunger banquet goes back to the school's food pantry, to help feed about 600 students who use it every year.